Seasons Greetings to All Our Friends and Family Near and Far:

May the true meaning of our Savior's birth keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Christmas 1996.

   I think my memory is starting to fail me as I'm trying to remember what this year has brought; it seems only the last couple of weeks keep replaying in my mind.  Wait, I can  remember July when Geoff and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary.  We took off for a long weekend and stayed at a couple of  B&B's on our way to Canada and then stayed in one of Vancouver's finest hotels and saw "Show Boat" at the Ford Theater.  It was great fun and nice to be alone for a change.  We had a hard time believing 20 years had passed and it was easy for us to recall many details of our courtship and wedding.  Remembering also brought many of you to our thoughts and we found ourselves missing some of those "old days" in Eugene.
   Geoff is still at Allied Business Systems in Bellevue working hard and seems to be solving many a computer problem daily.  His boss quite often expresses how he seems to be able to "walk on water" when it comes to the mind of the computer.  I for one am impressed, for other than typing a letter or an invoice, the computer is still a mystery to me.
    Timmy is now a sophomore at Issaquah High and is a typical teenager with a fair loathing for school work.  He is quite active in Young Life and is a student leader for the Junior High group.  This summer he went to "Beyond Malibu" a week-long hike up the Canadian Cascades, with a vertical gain of over 8,000' with the Young Life group.  He seemed to love every minute of it and now hiking is his summer sport.  The snow came early this year, so Timmy is off to teach skiing at "Webb Ski" to help defray the cost of his own skiing habits.  We are so pleased with him and how the Lord has become a major part of his life.
   Jenny's highlight for the year was to be in her cousin Joy's wedding as her flower girl.  Jenny and I along with cousins Joelle, Steven and Christopher traveled back with other family members to Minnesota in November for the wedding.  Jenny was in her element and loved being with Joy and David for their celebration.  They were gracious enough to let her stand at the ceremony and sit with them at the reception.  All of us were sure that if she could have she would have gone on the honeymoon with them.  She definitely thought it was her wedding too.  I had a great time with her on this trip and cried when she came down the aisle.  She was so cute and such a little fairy princess, it was hard to believe she was mine.  We had lots of fun together when we went to "The Mall of America".  They have an amusement park there and she and I went on a couple of roller coasters.  She thought is was quite funny to see her "Mama" screaming and laughing as we rolled and swayed at high speeds many feet above the ground.  I usually leave those kinds of activities to Geoff or Timmy but since they were not there I had to take my own life into my hands.
   As for me this year I had a couple of fun projects that I worked on.  I space-planned and designed cabinetry for a chiropractic office, along with managing the project.  Geoff did all of the carpentry, so it was fun and helpful to work together on the project.  We learned two expensive painting lessons we'll share with you for free:  First, never try to substitute one paint for another in the middle of the job.  Especially if they are from different stores.  Even if they say they can match the color perfectly, the color will NOT match, and neither will the "sheen."   And another thing: be sure to stir your paint thoroughly.  We wound up painting some walls two times and even three times because one can had a ton of yellow pigment at the bottom of a 5 gallon pail that wasn't found until we got down to it.  It made it impossible to touch up without repainting the entire wall!
   Another job that stands out is the latch key project I did for one of Seattle's popular disc jockey and his family.  They told me that they had seen "Father of the Bride Two" and recounted the part of the movie when "Franc" the designer had finished designing the nursery.  He made a grand presentation to the family by opening the doors and all of them seeing the room entirely finished for the first time.  The family and audience were in awe of the room and loved it all.  My clients in turn wanted me to do the same kind of thing for them in their living room.  They went away for vacation and when they returned their living room was transformed.  To my delight and sigh of relief, they loved everything.  It not only made my day, it made my year.  My last big project was to do the wedding for Sarah, my brother's daughter two weeks after Joy's.  I spent a marathon Thanksgiving weekend cooking dinner for 30, decorating the church and making all the flowers for the wedding with my friend Cheryl and overseeing the potluck dinner that was at my brother's house after the wedding.  I whined a lot about the wedding being on Thanksgiving weekend, but had fun doing it anyway.  It was delightful to see how Sarah met her new husband from Pennsylvania this summer while in China on a short term mission trip.  They fell in love and Chris came back with her to meet my brother and sister-in-law and to be married.  They are now planning to live in Mongolia as missionaries to the Kazahk people.
   Our last bit of big news is the selling of our house.  Geoff and I have decided to sell this house and take the equity we have in it to buy fixers and remodel them to be handicap accessible.  We are coming full circle on this, having done it back in the late 70's in Eugene, prior to the big real estate crash.  Hopefully, we'll be able to avoid some of the mistakes we made before (like being careful about getting too leveraged, and also trying to realistically estimate how much repairs to do and how long it will take).  This has been a dream of mine since my mother was in a wheelchair for the last few years of her life and I saw the need to make properties accessible for those who are impaired.  While we start to do this we will live in a rental unit for a few years, until we increase our equity to buy something again for ourselves.  Although we have a nice home, it's in a cookie-cutter neighborhood in a cookie-cutter development, and it's never really felt like "us" here.
   Our wish for you in the coming year is that you will be able to see the Lord's blessings in your life in all circumstances.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR

The Hazel's :Geoff, Fran, Timmy, Jenny, Barney the Rubble Dog and Slinky the Queen Kitty
December 12, 1996